Whenever, the Old Testament writers speak of a harlot, it is ALWAYS as a metaphor for Israel going after a strange religion or God. Infidelity and harlotry are metaphors for this tendency for mankind to try to find a way in which they can please God in a religious performance mode. In fact, The Prophet Hosea was told by the Lord to go out and marry a harlot as a prophetic object lesson. Hos 1:2 "When the LORD first spoke to Hosea, he said this to him: Go and marry a woman of promiscuity, and have children of promiscuity, for the land is committing blatant acts of promiscuity by abandoning the LORD." This is interesting in view of both Proverbs 7-9 and Hotel California.
In laying out the case for the title of this series, let's look at a couple of passages from the New Testament. John 5:39-40 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me. (40) But you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life. and... Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures; 44-45 He told them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (45) Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. These passages clearly state that the purpose of the scripture was to point to Christ and the relationship to the Father he brings as the last, representative Adam.
Therefore, it is clear to see that any other reading of the scripture leads to religious harlotry. This was his beef with the scribes and Pharisees in John 5:39-40. With this groundwork laid we can look at Proverbs 7-9. That passage discusses in metaphorical language two women. One is wisdom, and the other is a harlot. In both cases, the women are calling to the naive. They are calling out to the young inexperienced that are easily influenced. Wisdom is representative of Christ, and the harlot is representative of religion. Wisdom believes that God has a good and merciful plan and purpose for humanity and religion provides a way to gain favor with God by human accomplishment, effort and merit.
Proverbs 7-9 is a prophetic admonition to Israel encouraging them to have faith in YHWH and not try to go the religious route to gain favor with God. Of course, the Apostle Paul explains graphically in Romans 10:1-4 that they did not heed this admonition. Instead of being content with the righteousness of God, that is the righteous decree of God (Gen 1:31,) They set out to establish their own righteousness via the Law. The problem with that was that the Law was not given to establish righteousness. It was a tutor to drive humanity to Christ Jesus, God's provision.
When one reads Proverbs 7-9 in its entirety, I suggest you do that by following the link above, or if you prefer, looking at it on your own, one finds that the harlot can also easily be a metaphor for the evangelical church, and its schizophrenic view of law and grace. The schizophrenic view of law and grace adopted widely in evangelical doctrine creates a religion of work based righteousness instead of faith based righteousness. As has been established many times within these blog posts, evangelical Christianity has gone off the rails when it comes to the pristine gospel of grace. While they verbally and vocally maintain that one is saved by grace, the reality is that with their schizophrenic view of law and grace, nullifies grace in the end in favor or works righteousness.
This is why I think that this passage from Proverbs 7-9 is so right on target for describing the evangelical church's approach to it's members and potential followers. "At the window of my house I looked through my lattice. I saw among the inexperienced, I noticed among the youths, a young man lacking sense. Crossing the street near her corner, he strolled down the road to her house at twilight, in the evening, in the dark of the night. A woman came to meet him dressed like a prostitute, having a hidden agenda. She is loud and defiant; her feet do not stay at home. Now in the street, now in the squares, she lurks at every corner. She grabs him and kisses him; she brazenly says to him, “I’ve made fellowship offerings; today I’ve fulfilled my vows. So I came out to meet you, to search for you, and I’ve found you. I’ve spread coverings on my bed—richly colored linen from Egypt. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning. Let’s feast on each other’s love! My husband isn’t home; he went on a long journey. He took a bag of silver with him and will come home at the time of the full moon.” She seduces him with her persistent pleading; she lures with her flattering talk. He follows her impulsively like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer bounding toward a trap until an arrow pierces its liver, like a bird darting into a snare—he doesn’t know it will cost him his life. Now, sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words from my mouth. Don’t let your heart turn aside to her ways; don’t stray onto her paths. For she has brought many down to death; her victims are countless. Her house is the road to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death." The husband that has gone on a journey is Christ, and she is left to her own devices. She is bringing the innocent into her chambers to have them join in her harlotry. It is important to remember that in the Old Testament harlotry is synonymous with strange religion.
This is getting a little long so I will stop for now with more to come later.